This is a rather fickle list to make because popularity shifts like the wind and people’s tastes are subjective to their interests. I thought long and hard on the underrated titles I wanted to highlight. At least half of them made it onto this list because no one talks about them anymore, and they have a very specified fan base. All in all, I think they deserve more love and attention.
For this tag, I’ll be listing a variety of manga I feel are underrated. Feel free to use this tag yourself and be sure to tag me into your post so I know it’s going around!
Let’s get started!
Daytime Shooting Star, 2011-2014 by Yamamori, Mika
If you’ve been following my posts for the last few days, yes, this manga has come up A LOT. It’s one of my favorites and is a well-rounded mature romance. Yamamori treats her characters well and doesn’t create “villain” like rivals. Instead she built up the eventual relationship for her main character Suzumi in a way that honored her feelings and experiences.
Yamamori’s art style and consistent quality artwork should be praised more.
D.N.Angel, 1997-? by Sugisaki, Yukiru
Fans probably rate D.N.Angel‘s manga so low because of the anime. (It’s not good.) The original publisher, Tokyopop, of the English translation also went out of business about ten or so years ago so access to the manga volumes plummeted. This is unfortunate because Sugisaki’s artwork is hauntingly beautiful at times and her story is thought-provoking. She hasn’t released any new chapters in a long time, so the story is on hiatus for an indefinite time period.
From Far Away, 1991-2003 by Hikawa, Kyouko
From Far Away is another manga that has popped up a few times the last few days. With how popular Isekai style manga and anime are nowadays, I think more people should know about Hikawa’s Fantasy adventure with its optimistic and compassionate character Noriko from Japan. It’s a very romantic story and it also teaches pivotal truths on individual worth, power, and choice and accountability.
Immortal Rain/Meteor Methuselah, 1998-2011 by Ozaki, Kaori
Immortal Rain was fairly popular about fifteen years ago while Tokopop was publishing its volumes. However, once it went out of business access to the new volumes became impossible. Ozaki has a crisp, unique art style which is easily recognizable. She also has a knack for creating relatable, deep characters with identifiable motivations and problems. I hope VIZ media or another company chooses to re-translate it sooner than later. It is a really beautiful story. (Warning though! It has some mature content I wouldn’t recommend for younger readers.)
Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet, 2015-2019 by Yamamori, Mika
Much like Yamamori’s other work Daytime Shooting Star, I admire this story for its mature, more relatable take on relationships and communicating as a couple. I also really admired how she set specific boundaries in their relationship, giving them time to grow and eventually marry one another once Fumi was older. (The main characters havea big-ish age difference so it is important the author did this.)
Unlike Daytime Shooting Star, there is no English release for the manga volumes yet. There is also no anime. So sad. My hope is after Yamamori’s other series is completely released in English, VIZ media will also release Lonely Planet.
Love So Life, 2008-2015 by Kouchi, Kaede
(Yes, it is here again.) As far as Shoujo romances go, this is yet another more realistic take on relationships with bigger age gaps. I loved how Kouchi set up the romance between Shiharu and Matsunaga. There were not huge passionate scenes, however, they grew towards each other.
I am truly surprised more people don’t talk about this series. I am equally surprised it is no translated into English yet.
Mushishi, 1999-2008 by Urushibara, Yuki
Some may argue this series is not underrated. However, looking over a lot of different blogs and lists these past few months I have barely ever seen anyone talk about this series. Perhaps its because its so difficult to buy the English translation for the manga. It also may be because it has a completely different appeal to it then big Shonen anime and manga like One Piece and Bleach.
Regardless, more people should know about and read this series. It has beautiful artwork, compelling mysteries, and it is utterly therapeutic to read. It will also make you think deeper about different aspects of human nature, especially with its relationship with nature and the spiritual world.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, 1982-1994 by Miyazaki, Hayao
Miyazaki’s manga for his infamous animated film by the same name is the epitome of an underrated cult classic among manga fans. I only found it because, at 17, I was still working my way through all of Miyazaki’s films. When I watched the film I had this strange feeling something was missing from its story. So, I looked it up and found out he wrote a manga to better portray what had originally wanted for the story.
Its artwork and story are incredible. Miyazaki drew and wrote it himself and every page is a visual and literary delight for me. It suffers from the same problem Beserk does. It’s not a main stream genre so its looked over by general fans.
Psyren, 2007-2010 by Iwashiro, Toshiaki
During the 2000’s a lot of people talked about Psyren. Since Iwashiro finished the manga though, no one talks about it anymore. I can for the life of me fathom it. It has great pacing, dynamic characters, and incredible artwork (especially how he drew teeth).
Silver Spoon, 2011-2019 by Arakawa, Hiromu
Don’t get me wrong. I love Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist more. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t think this manga is both hilarious and incredible. If anyone could get me interested in farming, its Arakawa. Silver Spoon draws a lot from her roots as a farming child. It might even be a small tribute to the world she grew up in.
Though it has an anime and a fairly large fan base, I think most readers skip over it because it is nothing like Fullmetal Alchemist. When they see Arakawa as the author, they must expect another great Shonen, action thriller. Instead, they get a well-rounded slice of life growing up story. Though it’s not for everyone, I still think the fan base needs to grow.
Yotsuba&!, 2003-? by Azuma, Kiyohiko
Here we are again. It should probably be obvious Yotsuba&! is one of my favorite manga. The story is so down to earth and it’s so funny! Not as many people know about it though because it has no anime and not that much identifiable merchandise. (Shrug.) That’s the way it goes sometimes. Thankfully, at the very least there is an English translation for this manga readily available.
There you have it! I did treat this post as a possible tag other blog writers could use. Feel free to use it and be sure to tag me in there somewhere as the original creator.
Thank you for reading!
Anime April Mayhem! Day 5, Anime/Manga I’ll never do
Anime April Mayhem! Day 7, Best Artwork From Manga I’ve Read
See you tomorrow!